Social Security, Public Sector Unions, and Water Bureau Politics

Social Security, Public Sector Unions, and Water Bureau Politics

Today in the News
June 24, 2011

Social Security

The AARP has acknowledged that Social Security benefits cannot be paid out indefinitely at current levels.

Research Associate Adam Michel responds.

"The AARP’s seeming willingness to compromise in order to offer long term solvency to Social Security is a compromise that unions would be wise to observe. Big Labor has dug in their heels all over the United States by opposing any reform to pensions or collective bargaining agreements. This stubborn reaction to change neglects that most states will be facing insolvent pension funds within the next 15 to 20 years. If unions won’t let states reduce their workforce, lower wages or restructure pensions, where will the money come from to fix pensions? The only option left is to raise taxes, forcing taxpayers to subsidize government employees’ retirement."

 

Public Sector Unions

Public Sector Unions are putting taxpayers on the line for over-generous pension programs.

Vice President Iain Murray comments.

"Without significant reform, which will necessarily involve cuts in promised pension benefits, the rest of us are going to have to work for years to pay for other people to live in pampered retirement. And there is no other word for that than theft."

 

Water Bureau Politics

Portland Water Bureau administrator David Shaff decided to drain 8 million gallons from one of the city reservoirs after security cameras caught a man urinating into the basin.

Senior Fellow Greg Conko comments on Shaff's controversial decision.

"[U]rine from a healthy adult is sterile, it’s already composed mostly of water, and a few ounces of human urine diluted into 8 million gallons of water would expose drinkers to a minute quantity of contaminants measured in the parts per billion range, if not parts per trillion. And the Water Bureau even acknowledged that the reservoir water is commonly exposed to large quantities of animal urine and fecal matter, animal carcasses, trash, and other 'pollutants.' What I think is most telling, though is Shaff’s explanation for the decision: 'Nobody wants to drink pee, and I don’t want to deal with the 100 people who would be unhappy that I’m serving them pee in their water.' How fantastic is that? The Water Bureau decides to waste a few thousand dollars and a few million gallons of perfectly fine water just because the administer doesn’t want to get a few angry phone calls."